If all goes to plan, McIntosh will be getting a facelift for its aged main entrance and a new walkway which will connect the second floors of the math and science building across to the English building.
Mike Satterfield, Director of Facilities for the system, explained at Monday's Board of Education meeting that a lack of second floor connection between the two buildings has long been an inconvenience at the school, as students wishing to get from one to the other would have to walk down stairs and across the main lobby only to scale the stairs again on the other side.
"I know [longtime board members] Dr. Todd and Ms. Key have talked about this for years, what a problem that was," Satterfield said. "Basically what we've come up with is a walkway on the second floor that comes out the end of the hallway of the math/science building and swings around to the end of the hallway of the English building."
He explained that the curved design was decided upon because the original plan for a "straight shot" was too problematic. It would have required eliminating at least one and possibly two science classrooms and would also necessitate adding a number of columns in the downstairs lobby to support the newly added hallway above. Satterfield said this wouldn't be very aesthetically pleasing and that with all the foot traffic through the lobby students would be "dodging around columns" all the time.
The new design would extend the entrance area somewhat and allow for the addition of a "security vestibule" for controlling flow of visitors into the building. The interior work would also include moving a wall which would allow for some extra main office space.
Aside from making movement around the building more efficient, Satterfield said the renovations would spruce up an old, unremarkable entrance.
"Several years ago we put a really nice looking gym on the westside of McIntosh, it looks great, but it kind of overshadowed the east side of the building because the east side is so dated. It was originally constructed back in the early 80's and to be truthful if you're riding by the building it's really hard to tell where the front door is."
Todd commented only half-jokingly that the entrance currently "looks like a prison."
"That was before my time, I had nothing to do with it," Satterfield laughed, "but I do feel this will be an attractive change."
Dr. Barry Marchman suggested the architectural design should be considered as it might not fit with the look of the rest of the building. Satterfield agreed that the design sketch doesn't necessarily have a lot in common with the look of the gym exterior, for example.
As to the cost and time frame, Satterfield said the best guess at this point is that the project would cost $850 to $900 thousand. He said the architect was confident the necessary interior work could be completed during the summer to minimize distractions to students, but that exterior work would likely stretch a couple months into the semester.